Japan Display Inc., or JDI, announced yesterday that is has developed a "Full Active" display that combines a number fo new techniques in order to slim down the bezel around the panel. The first product in the new Full Active LCD panel portfolio is a 5.5-inch, Full HD (or 1080p, 1,080 by 1,920 pixel resolution) screen with as slim a bezel design all of the way around. Current LCD panels have a larger bezel at the top or bottom of the display in order to house the electronic and lighting control units.
Japan Display was formed four years ago by combining the display business divisions of Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba. In recent years, the business has struggled for two reasons. The first is the rise in popularity for OLED, almost exclusively Samsung's AMOLED, panels. The second is that the existing and remaining LCD market has several new Chinese businesses now selling displays into the market. These businesses have been able to undercut JDI's panels and have stolen market share. Another issue that Japan Display struggle with is that smartphone component technology has rapidly become a commodity: where once before, JDI had a clear and definite technological advantage compared with the competition, in 2016 the majority of smartphone displays are perceived to be similar in quality to one another.
Japan Display's Full Active LCD has been achieved by using a new, high density wiring schematic and a new processing control unit. JDI have also used a new modular assembly process too. The new display technology will be in full production by March 2017 and JDI has plans to introduce a new family of low edge profile LCD panels to be used for other products, such as smartwatches and tablets. Furthermore, this new LCD technology could reinvigorate the LCD panel market and encourage manufacturers to take a second look at the technology, as the display is either the largest or the second largest component inside a smartphone next to the battery. One of the trends of modern smartphones is to reduce the bezel, but manufacturers have concentrated on the side bezel rather than the top or bottom bezel. Part of the reason for this is that customer devices usually mount cameras or light sensors at the top or, occasionally, the bottom of the front of a smartphone. We've seen other new developments - such as a software controlled proximity sensor - that will help manufacturers reduce the equipment that is mounted outside of the display. We may, however, still need an integrated camera built into the glass.